Shreya Bakhshi 15 Dec 2022
Lifestyle Community

Christmas is right around the corner and people are lining up at stores to find the perfect gifts for their friends and family. But what about the office Secret Santa?

This can be a tricky one given the budget constraints and buying for someone you may not know that well - but who says you can’t find something cool and innovative?

REDnews spoke to Westpac Secret Santa enthusiasts Bhav Narayan and Mary-Ann McAlister and got their opinions on some cool gifts for the season!


Want to give a cool gift? Personalise it!

Both Bhav and Mary-Ann love the process of gift giving. They are big on organising Secret Santa at work and have been doing so for many years.

Even though they believe that 25 to 30 dollars is a good budget for an office Secret Santa, it should not stop people from getting unique gifts.

A smart way to go about buying a cool and unique gift for someone, they said, is to pick up on any hints people may drop here and there during random conversations.

Bhav said, “I do it in a very technical way… [I get to know] the person. What do they basically like, what do they not have, what do they want.”

Mary-Ann on the other hand loves personalising gifts for people.

“If you’re quite new in a role, like I am, you pick up on cues. You get to know the people you are working with. You find out about their hobbies, and you use that… Something that has been personalised, they’ve found out the stuff that you’re interested in. They’ve taken the time to think…and they haven’t just gone and bought something generic.”


Still haven’t found a cool gift. Here are some ideas:

Talking about cool gifts, Bhav said her manager always takes the lead in the gift giving department.

“One year we got these tags with our names and stuff. Last year we had stools from Kathmandu, you know, those picnic stools. So, he just always goes all out,” she said.

Mary-Ann, who loves personalising gifts, said: “I scrap-booked a calendar once for one of my old bosses… Well other things that I have done [are]…people like going to the movies [so I] put together a box of popcorn and a movie voucher.”

For those on a budget, Mary-Ann says, op-shops are a great option to pick something inexpensive, yet unique.

“A cool op-shop item you can do is get a casserole dish and fill it up with something; put the dry ingredients for cookies in jars, put a wooden spoon in there.”

If they’re a social conscience-type person, she suggested donating to a charity in their name.

Just like Bhav and Mary-Ann, the internet too is full of some amazing ideas for unique Secret Santa gifts, and REDnews has compiled a list so you don’t have to:


Customised Socks

  • Pair of customised socks:

These are inexpensive, easy to find and customise with any image or text of your choice. You can check out some great options on, or



Productivity Planner

  • Productivity Planner

Productivity planners are the ideal gift for anyone who loves organising. They are handy, quite cute and come in a range designs. You can find some great options at The Warehouse, Typo or even Kmart.



Tea Hamper

  • Hamper with unique teas

You can make these as expensive or as cheap as you want, and they still make for a fantastic gift. T2 does some exclusive tea flavours, and you can even find a wide range of teacups, kettles, and mugs to jazz up your gift. Make it even better by adding some gourmet cookies to it!



Novelty Mugs

  • Novelty mugs

Just like personalised socks, novelty mugs are easy to find and can make for a one-of-a-kind gift. Websites like, and and have a cool collection to shop from.



Cocktail Recipe Book

  • Cocktail recipe book

A cute and fun gift and can easily be found at most bookstores and even online. They’re the perfect gift for the popular party host in your life!



Aroma Therapy Diffuser

  • Aroma therapy diffuser

These come in a variety of different designs and can be found at stores like Noel Leeming, Kmart, Might Ape and Briscoes. Add diffuser oils to the mix to complete the gift.


Happy gift buying and Merry Christmas!

Lifestyle Community